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Lawmakers Blast Obama for Giving UN First Vote on Iran Deal

Lawmakers Blast Obama for Giving UN First Vote on Iran Deal
(Mtrommer/Dreamstime)

By    |   Tuesday, 21 July 2015 09:49 AM

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are infuriated that the White House gave the United Nations, and not Congress, the first say on approving the Iran nuclear deal, The Hill reported.

The White House appeared to be looking to use the unanimous approval by the U.N. to pressure Congress into backing the deal but the strategy may have backfired.

New York Rep. Eliot Engel, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a joint statement with panel chairman, California GOP Rep. Ed Royce, that they were "disappointed" that the U.N. Security Council voted "before Congress was able to fully review and act on this agreement."

"Regardless of this morning's outcome, Congress will continue to play its role," they said, according to The Hill.

The Obama administration pushed back against criticism, saying Congress would have two months to weigh in on the deal.

"No ability of the Congress has been impinged on," Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday, according to The Hill.

Kerry said that the administration had little choice, noting that while the White House would get criticism at home, the alternative of withholding the deal from U.N. endorsement would have rubbed allies the wrong way.

"Frankly, some of these other countries were quite resistant to the idea, as sovereign nations, that they were subject to the United States Congress," Kerry said, according to The Hill.

"When you're negotiating with six other countries, it does require, obviously, a measure of sensitivity and multilateral cooperation that has to take into account other nations' desires."

Republicans appeared to reserve the heaviest criticism for the administration.

Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn described the U.N. action as "an affront to the American people" and accused the White House of "jamming this deal through" without congressional scrutiny.

House Speaker John Boehner, meanwhile, said that by allowing the U.N. panel to weigh in first, President Barack Obama "ignored the concerns of the American people, and senior members of his own party," according to The Hill.

"This is a bad start for a bad deal," he said in a statement on Monday, according to The Hill. "The American people expect their representatives to review this potential agreement and stop Iran's push for a nuclear weapon, and we will continue our critical work to do just that."

"Enabling such a consequential vote just 24 hours after submitting the agreement documents to Congress undermines our national security and violates the spirit of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Act," he added.

Congressional lawmakers have 60 days to evaluate the accord with Iran. The deal lifts international sanctions in exchange for a range of measures that would restrict Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker was also critical of the White House's decision to put the deal up for a U.N. vote. Last week, he and the committee's top Democrat, Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, sent a letter to the president asking him to postpone the vote.

"It is inappropriate to commit the United States to meet certain international obligations without even knowing if Congress and the American people approve or disapprove of the Iran agreement," Corker said Monday, according to The Hill.

"During the review period, members on both sides of the aisle will evaluate the agreement carefully, press the administration for answers and then vote their conscience."

Nevertheless, the White House appeared intent on leveraging the U.N. vote and remained unapologetic.

According to The Hill, Obama said the vote "will send a clear message that the overwhelming number of countries who not only participated in the deal … but who have observed what's happened, recognize that this is by far our strongest approach to ensuring that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon.

"My working assumption is that Congress will pay attention to the broad-based consensus," he added.

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Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are infuriated that the White House gave the United Nations, and not Congress, the first say on approving the Iran nuclear deal, The Hill reported.
iran, nuclear deal, un, congress
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2015-49-21
Tuesday, 21 July 2015 09:49 AM
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